What is charity?

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When I mention what I am doing through the 10 City Bridge Run to many people, often the response is “are you doing that for charity?”

We have corrupted and confused the meaning of the word charity by have too much emphasis toward a consumer focus. We have confused the word (verb) charity for the description (noun) of ‘a charity’. But does this really matter?

I think it does. We have made ‘doing good’ a commodity. Philanthropy has become for many a means of finding reward and status. Brand and agency now define how we understand value and trust. I think that is all wrong.

Are these things right?

  • ‘Charities’ ambushing people on the street and signing them up onto monthly direct debit forms to their credit cards.
  • Corporate events seeking sponsorship to the right ‘charity’ because of the reputation gained.
  • Treating those who give larger sums of money with extra-special care because of their ‘philanthropy’.

What happened to the neighbourly culture of helping out your mate in Australia? The proverbial cup of sugar when it was asked. Helping out when someone is in need.

Where I live in Kings Cross there are many people who stop and ask you for ‘change’. Is the right thing just to give them what they ask- a few bucks- or is it more appropriate to ask how we can help them? All too often the stereotype (and often the reality) is that these people will just go and drink the money away, or worse score and shoot up. Surely if we really cared we would look to their needs beyond just throwing them a couple of coins so they were off our conscience.

I believe we need to be bridges to help those in need. We can’t meet everyones need, and neither will we want to all of the time. We have our own concerns to look to as well.

10 City Bridge Run presents a new approach to philanthropy. Philanthropy doesn’t mean ‘not-for-profit’. It means doing good in the interest of others.

In the 10 City Bridge Run sponsorship received supports the production of a book, “Above the Line” using a social enterprise business model. Proceeds enable the 10 City Bridge Run to occur and to meet the Six Outcomes. Sponsorship is received by Social Alchemy, a social business as defined by Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Muhammad Yunus. Please join us on the journey and become a sponsor.

This is a participative and altruistic initiative. It is charity in action.

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